Building an Illustration with Cheryl Teo

This tutorial is courtesy of the very excellent Cheryl Teo, @captain.lulo. Cheryl joined us in Volume Three for an interview and this exclusive project!

Make a Singapore HDB Building

The majority of Singaporeans live in Housing Development Board (HDB) flats. As we are a very small country, we have to live in tall skyscrapers. The tallest HDB building in Singapore goes all the way to the 50th floor. Can you imagine the view from such a high level? It is not unusual to find HDB buildings in a wide myriad of colours too! Would you like to learn to make one today? Let’s get started!


  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • White Craft Glue
  • Empty Ball Point Pen 


Cut out all templates (download here). Use a pair of scissors to cut out only the solid lines. The dotted lines are meant for scoring. 

2 - Score all dotted lines using an empty ball point pen or the back of a craft knife. Always ask for assistance from your parent or an older guardian if you are using a craft knife. Hold your ruler firmly in place with one hand and run the empty ball point pen along the dotted line, drag it down gently to create a crease. It is necessary to score your dotted lines as it makes it easier to fold.

3 - Fold all creases. Your HDB building is formed by putting templates A and B together. Apply glue to the tab on template A and attach it to template B. 

4 - Before you glue the last tab to form the HDB building, it is recommended that you make the balcony first. Start by adding glue to the smallest tab of the balcony pattern before glueing it in place. 

5 - Apply glue to the back tabs of the balcony and secure it to the building facade. A quick tip: Attach the balcony starting from the bottom to the top. This would give you the space needed to hold each balcony in place while you wait for the glue to dry. 

6 - Once you have secured all balcony pieces in place, apply glue to the remaining tab of the HDB building. Hold it in place and make sure it’s fully dried before you move on to the next step! 

7 - It’s now time to embellish your building with some cute details! Glue the green wreath onto the front of the balcony. Proceed to add the ribbon and fuzzy socks anywhere you like. 

8 - It is really warm in Singapore all year round and one of the many things you will see on our HDB buildings is an air-conditioning unit. This helps keep us cool on hot days! To make one, glue the tabs together to form a small box. Apply glue to the 4 tabs at the back of the air-conditioning unit and secure them to the sides of the building. 

9 - Singapore is a city that is filled with trees! Slot two tree templates together to make a standing tree. If you would like to make more trees in different colours, trace your cut-out template onto a blank piece of paper and cut your traced image. 

10 - Your HDB building is now completed! Make your city beautiful by peppering it with plenty of trees! 

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